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Signing up: candidates' signs cropping up thanks to a Marianna firm.

Politics is big business.

No one is more aware of that than Marianna's Mark Birchler.

As president of Landmark Services Inc., Birchler knows how important name identification is to a candidate.

With Landmark Signs, a sign-printing company, and Landmark Campaigns, a political consulting firm, he is able to do double duty for politicians.

Several of Birchler's clients are involved in this week's Arkansas primaries.

The sign company operates out of what was once a lumberyard, a 14,000-SF facility that gives Birchler and his staff more than enough room.

The sign-printing business grew out of Birchler's campaign consulting service. He decided in 1989 that he could print campaign signs for less than he was paying others, saving himself and clients money.

Birchler, a consultant for a number of Arkansas legislators, knew exactly what was needed to begin a sign business.

"Lots of people," he says. "It takes lots of labor and lots of space."

Landmark Signs produces large campaign signs in addition to smaller yard signs. The company also produces bumper stickers and cards for candidates.

Street signs and real estate signs are manufactured by the Marianna company, "which helps even out the cash flow," according to Birchler, 37.

Political Products

The production division is capable of turning out 300 signs per day, Birchler says. His biggest order was for 1,000 signs.

Made of coroplast, a plastic compound, the signs are lighter than their plywood counterparts and more durable. They thus can be reused.

One state legislator was able to reuse his campaign signs by adding an adhesive strip bearing the word "re-elect."

Birchler has Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., as a client for Landmark Signs in addition to two statewide candidates in Missouri.

Other states where Landmark's signs can be seen are Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia.

Advertising in two national trade magazines helped Landmark expand its business to other states, according to Birchler, who was Marianna's police chief for eight years.

Still, much of the business has come from word-of-mouth advertising. Politicians are known for offering insights to other politicians in non-election years.

Birchler was an admirer of the management style of Sam Walton, the late chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville. Birchler offers candidates the opportunity to return signs they deem unacceptable. He says he has never had anyone take him up on the offer.

"We'll beat anybody's prices," Birchler says. "That's the Wal-Mart philosophy -- give them a good product at a good price."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Journal Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Across Arkansas; Landmark Services Inc.
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:May 25, 1992
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